MLB Trade Rumors » » Oakland Athletics 2017-12-16T06:34:02Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dustin Fowler Sues White Sox Over Injury]]> 2017-12-16T06:34:02Z 2017-12-16T06:11:12Z Athletics outfielder Dustin Fowler has brought a lawsuit against the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority relating to the serious knee injury he suffered in June, as Tom Schuba of the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Fowler was injured when he collided with an electrical box along the right field wall at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field while chasing a foul pop-up. At the time, he was playing for the Yankees in his first major league baseball game. He suffered a ruptured patella tendon that required surgery and cost him the entire remainder of the season.

Now a member of the Athletics after being included in the Sonny Gray swap at the 2017 trade deadline, Fowler is working his way back in preparation for Spring Training. The hope is that he will regain his health and former trajectory as a player, though certainly it is not yet clear whether he’ll face ongoing physical limitations.

Fowler, who’ll soon turn 23, had increasingly been seen as an intriguing young player during the course of the 2017 season. He hit 13 home runs and posted a .293/.329/.542 batting line in 313 plate appearances at Triple-A, earning his first call-up.

According to the suit, the White Sox and/or Authority failed to adequately protect players from the unpadded electrical box, leaving players exposed to the sort of harm that Fowler ultimately suffered. He is seeking damages for “severe and permanent” injuries, pain and suffering, and certain medical costs.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Unlikely To Pursue Jed Lowrie]]> 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z
  • In a full story from Carig, he reports that the Mets are more willing to take on salary than give up significant prospects in trades.  This could lead them to Jason Kipnis, who both Carig and Puma cite as potentially the Mets’ top second base target.  The Indians owe Kipnis $28MM over the next two season, plus a $16.5MM club option for 2020 that carries a $2.5MM buyout.  Also from Carig, he reports that the Mets don’t seem to have much interest in another second baseman, the AthleticsJed Lowrie.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Stephen Piscotty]]> 2017-12-14T17:17:59Z 2017-12-14T15:58:17Z The Athletics have officially acquired outfielder Stephen Piscotty from the Cardinals. Minor league infielders Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock will head back to St. Louis in the swap.

    Sep 7, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty (55) singles during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Piscotty, who seemed like a shoo-in to leave the Cardinals via trade entering the offseason, became especially superfluous to the Redbirds when they swung a blockbuster to acquire fellow outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins on Wednesday. That deal left the Cardinals with three highly qualified starting outfielders in Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham, thus leading to the end of Piscotty’s tenure with the club.

    [RELATED: Updated Athletics Depth Chart]

    Now 26, Piscotty joined the St. Louis organization as a first-round pick in 2012 and flashed moments of brilliance during his short major league stint there. Between his debut in 2015 and the end of the ’16 campign, the right-handed hitter slashed a terrific .282/.348/.467 with 29 home runs and a 3.9 fWAR in 905 plate appearances. The auspicious start to Piscotty’s career was enough to convince the Cardinals to award him a six-year extension worth a guaranteed $33.5MM prior to last season.

    Unfortunately for St. Louis, early returns on the newly extended Piscotty weren’t positive in 2017. While Piscotty managed to significantly increase his walk rate to 13 percent (up from around 8 percent from 2015-16), his offensive production took an overall dive as he batted a disappointing .235/.342/.367 with nine homers and a subpar .132 ISO (down 53 points from the previous two seasons).

    The Athletics will now hope for a bounce-back from Piscotty, a Northern California native and Stanford alumnus. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that the Cards hoped a Piscotty trade would give him a chance to be closer to his mother, who’s battling ALS, and they were able to make good on that.

    As Piscotty deals with a tragic situation off the field, he may be in line for a revival on it; his age, 2015-16 output and batted-ball misfortune are all encouraging signs. Piscotty finished 2017 with a .319 wOBA, but the number should have been closer to a solid .340, according to Statcast.

    If Piscotty does return to something resembling his best form in Oakland, he’ll be an effective, affordable and young piece for the low-payroll club. The A’s saw other position player building blocks in first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman come to the fore in 2017, and, barring trades, have established hitters on hand in DH Khris Davis, corner outfielder Matt Joyce, second baseman Jed Lowrie and shortstop Marcus Semien. Piscotty, who’s likely to play opposite Joyce in one of the corners next year, is now in line to join a growing group of talent on a rebuilding club.

    Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who has long reported upon the A’s interest in Piscotty, reported yesterday that the deal was nearing completion and today that a framework was in place (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of FanRag tweeted the deal was in place, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported it was moving forward this morning, and’s Jane Lee tweeted the swap was official.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics, Cardinals In Serious Talks On Stephen Piscotty Swap]]> 2017-12-13T20:29:53Z 2017-12-13T20:28:59Z 2:28pm: Slusser has added a few more conceivable players in conversations in an updated version of her story. It seems that the sides could be contemplating some of the A’s relief arms.

    1:38pm: The dominoes from the Cardinals’ reported acquisition of Marcell Ozuna are beginning to fall, it seems. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics’ long-standing interest in Cards outfielder Stephen Piscotty could conceivably come to fruition with a deal before the Winter Meetings end.

    Oakland is not willing to part with its best young assets, according to the report, but Slusser says the discussions have revolved around some of the A’s available 40-man assets. One name under consideration, she notes, is infielder Yairo Munoz, a 23-year-old who reached the top level of the minors in 2017.

    Piscotty, who’ll soon turn 27, thrived in his first two seasons in the majors, posting a cumulative .282/.348/.467 slash and hitting 29 home runs in his first 905 MLB plate appearances. He ended up striking a six-year, $33.5MM extension at the start of the 2017 campaign.

    Things haven’t progressed as hoped since that time, however. Piscotty missed some time due to injury and ended the year with 401 plate appearances of .235/.342/.367 output through 401 trips to the plate. On the positive side, Piscotty did neary double his walk rate to 13.0% even as his power dipped.

    Piscotty continues to grade as a solid defender but subpar baserunner. If he can regain his form at the dish, there’s good reason to think he could be a quality regular in the corner — which is just what the A’s are in search of.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Rumblings: Twins, Darvish, Cishek, Cole, Mariners, Liriano, Watson]]> 2017-12-13T22:14:17Z 2017-12-13T19:21:28Z While the market for starters is still fairly slow to develop, relievers have been flying off the board at the Winter Meetings. Here’s the latest chatter on some hurlers from around the game:

    • The Twins are sending signals that they’re serious about their pursuit of free agent righty Yu Darvish. As LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune writes, skipper Paul Molitor says the organization has “targeted [Darvish] as somebody we have tremendous interest in.” That follows prior public indications of interest from GM Thad Levine, who, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press examines, has a longstanding relationship with Darvish. That piece is well worth a full read, if only for Berardino’s enjoyable chat with catcher Chris Gimenez, who worked closely with Darvish with the Rangers and has played most recently with the Twins.
    • Meanwhile, the Twins are also among the teams looking into righty Steve Cishek, according to Berardino (via Twitter). The sidearmer has been left as one of the top remaining free-agent setup men after a spate of signings at the Winter Meetings. He finished the 2017 season on a strong run with the Rays.
    • The Orioles have at least checked in on Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Certainly, Baltimore isn’t the only organization that would love to add Cole, whose name has arisen in chatter a few times in recent days. Whether the Bucs are really ready to deal him isn’t entirely clear; neither is it certain just what the club would seek in return. Yesterday, though, Buster Olney of gave perhaps the clearest indication yet that Pittsburgh may be prepared to strike an agreement, tweeting that there’s a belief from some around the game that Pittsburgh would pull the trigger if the right deal came across its desk.
    • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says his team is in the “red zone” on a deal, likely for a reliever, in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio tweets that Juan Nicasio is a “strongly rumored possibility,” though clearly that’s not a firm connection at this point. And it’s certainly worth noting that the M’s have, in fact, struck agreement on a trade since Dipoto went on the air — though it’s not clear whether the minor acquisition was the one he was referring to. Perhaps Dipoto was giving a nod to that swap, but it’s also possible there’s a more significant move still in store. Regardless, the M’s are clearly focused on pitching, as Dipoto has made clear and TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
    • The Astros are weighing a reunion with lefty Francisco Liriano, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Long a starter, the 34-year-old was added by the ’Stros at the 2017 trade deadline and moved into a relief role. He did not exactly thrive in that job initially, allowing seven earned runs and posting an ugly 11:10 K/BB ratio in his 14 1/3 frames over twenty appearances. Liriano will presumably also draw some looks from organizations that would propose to give him a shot at rediscovering his form as a starter.
    • Another lefty, Tony Watson, is a possible target for the Athletics, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 32-year-old has plenty of late-inning experience and finished strong after a mid-season swap to the Dodgers. In twenty innings with L.A., Watson posted a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[New York Notes: Mets Pen, Harvey, Lowrie, Duffy, Yankees Options]]> 2017-12-12T21:56:44Z 2017-12-12T21:56:44Z New Mets skipper Mickey Callaway indicated in his comments to reporters that he’s disinclined to utilize a traditional closer, as Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. While Jeurys Familia has thrived in that role at times in the past, it seems the Mets may at least consider dabbling in more of a late-inning matchup approach, though surely the team’s approach will also depend upon its ensuing transactions. GM Sandy Alderson suggested to reporters, including Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link), that bullpen usage plans are still open for consideration.

    More from the New York organizations:

    • Meanwhile, recent chatter surrounding Matt Harvey does not seem likely to go anywhere. Alderson indicated (also via Carig, on Twitter) that Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland have recommended the organization retain the former ace. While it’s not clear that anything has changed since the rumors emerged yesterday, that viewpoint seems at least to be informing the Mets’ valuation of a pitcher that has a massive ceiling but who has struggled quite notably of late.
    • While the Mets held at least some conversations with the Athletics regarding second baseman Jed Lowrie, per Puma (via Twitter), the clubs “don’t appear to match up.” That seems to remove at least one possibility from the Mets’ seemingly wide-open search for options up the middle. At this stage, it’s anyone’s guess how the open job will be filled.
    • The Yankees have reached out to the Royals to express interest in lefty Danny Duffy, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kansas City seems to be in the early stages of exploring trade scenarios for Duffy and others, but we’ve heard some news trickle out on various possibilities in recent days. The Yanks, meanwhile, have been connected to a variety of names; Sherman also discusses some of the other avenues for building out the Yanks’ rotation.
    • Sherman also looks at the Yankees’ situation from a higher level. Without further salary-shedding maneuvers, he tweets, the team may have something on the order of $20MM to $25MM to work with before reaching luxury tax territory. Given that the organization has possibilities for moving yet more cash off the books, it seems there’s still ample flexibility.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[6 To 8 Teams Interested In Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-12-12T20:27:46Z 2017-12-12T16:42:00Z TODAY: The Rockies and Blue Jays are also among the interested teams, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

    YESTERDAY, 7:45pm: The Marlins are telling teams Ozuna would be easier to acquire than outfield mate Christian Yelich, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. That’s not surprising, as the 26-year-old Yelich is controllable by way of a team-friendly contract through 2022 and carries a more consistent track record than Ozuna.

    7:01pm: Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is drawing interest from six to eight clubs, Joe Frisaro of reports (on Twitter). Along with the Cardinals, whose interest was already known entering Monday, the Giants and Nationals are among the teams in on Ozuna, per Frisaro. The Athletics are also still considering Ozuna, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slussser first reported their interest in Ozuna in early November.

    Two of these clubs – the Cardinals and Giants – have spent a large portion of the offseason engaging with the Marlins about right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and they even had deals in place to land the 2017 NL MVP. But Stanton nixed those trades before accepting a deal to the Yankees over the weekend, sending the Cards and Giants scrambling for other options. Ozuna makes for an appealing Plan B, then, as he’s coming off a season in which he slashed a career-best .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and a 4.8 fWAR over 679 plate appearances.

    In terms of production, last year was an outlier for Ozuna relative to the rest of his career – which began when he debuted in 2013 – but he has still accounted for at least 2.5 fWAR in three of four full seasons. At worst, Ozuna seems to be a solid regular, and the 27-year-old doesn’t come with an onerous, Stanton-esque contract. He’s controllable for two more years via arbitration and will earn a projected $10.9MM in 2018. That’s certainly an affordable figure, though it should also help the Marlins land a quality return for him. They’re obviously educated on both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ farm systems thanks to the Stanton talks.

    The Nationals, meanwhile, share a division with the Marlins, but that shouldn’t necessarily serve as a deterrent to a payroll-cutting Miami team whose primary goal in an Ozuna trade should be to bolster its weak system. Washington’s prospect pool is only the majors’ 18th best, per Baseball America (the outlet ranks the Cards’ 13th and the Giants’ 27th), but it seems that’s primarily because of a lack of depth. The top of the Nationals’ system is impressive, according to BA, and that could help pave the way for an Ozuna swap.

    With the Nationals at risk of losing Bryce Harper to free agency in a year, Ozuna might somewhat help cover for his potential exit in 2019. In the meantime, the Nats could perhaps use a left fielder to complement Harper in right and Adam Eaton in center. They do, however, have other in-house options in Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin. Taylor was particularly strong in 2017, yet the Nats may not be content with him functioning as a regular in 2018, if their interest in Ozuna is any indication.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Billy Beane On Extensions, Vet Pitchers]]> 2017-12-12T02:41:58Z 2017-12-12T02:35:29Z
  • Athletics executive VP Billy Beane announced after the season that they’re hoping to sign some of their best young talent to contract extensions this offseason. That remains the case, Beane told reporters. Beane added that picking up a veteran starter is a low priority for the A’s, saying they’re “not overly impressed with guys that would be available to us” (Twitter links via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Jane Lee of
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Athletics’ Pursuit Of Outfielders]]> 2017-12-12T01:23:30Z 2017-12-12T01:23:11Z 8:15pm: More on the A’s outfield from Slusser, who reports that they’re also interested in one of Piscotty’s teammates, Grichuk, as well as the Reds’ Adam Duvall and the Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. As 30-home run hitters in 2017, Duvall and Souza would provide right-handed punch to the A’s lineup if acquired. They’re also controllable for the next few seasons – Duvall’s under wraps through 2021, including one pre-arbitration year, while Souza’s set to play his first of three arb-eligible campaigns in 2018. He’s projected to earn a very affordable $3.6MM. Grichuk’s another powerful righty entering his first of three arb years, though he didn’t fare as well as Duvall or Souza in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the A’s seem uninterested in moving one of their top offensive players, left fielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, per Slusser. They’ve spurned the Red Sox and other teams that have inquired about Davis this winter.

    1:04am: The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported and’s Jane Lee discusses in a video link. Oakland has been on the hunt this winter for right-handed hitting outfield help.

    A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty to Oakland in exchange for Sonny Gray.  Those talks never really got off the ground, however, and the A’s subsequently dealt Gray to the Yankees.

    As Lee mentions in the video, “the A’s have interest in a ton of outfielders right now,” with the team particularly focused on right-handed bats who are controllable, so the A’s aren’t only looking at veteran options.  The Athletics are clearly willing to shop near the top of the trade market, however, as such names as Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (a left-handed hitter) have already been reported as landing on Oakland’s radar in talks.

    Piscotty wouldn’t cost as much in a deal as those aforementioned names, given how he struggled in 2017.  After signing a six-year, $33.5MM extension with the Cardinals in April, Piscotty went from building block to potentially expendable piece by hitting just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers over  401 plate appearances.  Groin and hamstring injuries didn’t help his cause, and Piscotty was even demoted to Triple-A in August for a brief spell.

    Still, Piscotty posted strong numbers in his first two big league seasons, he doesn’t turn 27 until January, and the Cards are less than a year removed from locking him up on what could still be a team-friendly extension.  Under normal circumstances, St. Louis wouldn’t be looking to deal a player like Piscotty (especially when his trade value has been lowered), though the club must create room within a crowded outfield picture.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham locked into everyday outfield spots next year, leaving just one corner spot for Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, and prospects Magneuris Sierra, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader.  The Cards may also add another everyday outfielder — they’ve also been linked to Ozuna and Yelich in trade speculation, and J.D. Martinez is a possibility for a Cardinals lineup looking for a big bat after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton.

    This surplus makes St. Louis a logical trade partner for an Oakland team that is short on established outfielders.  Boog Powell and top prospect Dustin Fowler are the top candidates for center field, while Matt Joyce, Jake Smolinski, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha will be in the mix for playing time in the corners.  Piscotty would step into one of those corner spots for everyday duty right away, and the $30.5MM owed to him over the next five years (counting a $1MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2023) is a palatable price tag even for a smaller-market team like the A’s.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Machado, Phils, Yanks, Bucs, Cole, Ellsbury, Tigers, Brewers]]> 2017-12-12T21:23:43Z 2017-12-11T22:59:07Z Should the Orioles decide to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado prior to 2018, his contract year, they could find a taker in Philadelphia. The Phillies are among “the more interested parties” in Machado, Roch Kubatko of reports. The Orioles have studied the Phillies’ farm system in the event of a deal, and they now “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Baseball America’s 61st-best prospect), per Kubatko. Second base prospect Scott Kingery and major league shortstop Freddy Galvis could also be involved in a potential trade, Kubatko writes. But a swap would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to extend the 25-year-old Machado, according to Kubatko, and hammering out an agreement could be a tall order given that he’s so close to hitting the open market.

    More of the latest trade chatter:

    • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
    • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.
    • The Tigers expect to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler, GM Al Avila told Evan Woodbery of and other reporters (Twitter link). Meanwhile, they’ve gotten “mild inquiries” on arguably their most valuable trade chip – righty Michael Fulmer – but they’re not actively shopping him (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter). “There are a handful of teams out there that have the players to do it, but we have not come close to those conversations,” Avila said of a potential Fulmer trade (Twitter link via Jason Beck of
    • While the Brewers are listening to offers for outfielder Domingo Santana, there’s not a lot of traction in trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Brewers want “an affordable impact starter” for Santana, Crasnick suggests. GM David Stearns told reporters Monday that “if we’re going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return” (via Adam McCalvy of, on Twitter).
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Acquire Joey Wendle]]> 2017-12-12T05:58:45Z 2017-12-11T22:18:41Z The Rays have acquired second baseman Joey Wendle from the Athletics for a player to be named later, Mark Feinsand of was among those to report (Twitter link). The A’s jettisoned Wendle from their 40-man roster when they designated him for assignment last Thursday.

    Tampa Bay is the third organization for Wendle, who entered the pro ranks as a sixth-round pick of the Indians in 2012. They shipped him to the A’s in 2014 to acquire slugger Brandon Moss. The lefty-hitting Wendle ended up making his major league debut in 2016, and he hit a combined .266/.305/.339 in 118 plate appearances with the A’s between that year and last season. Wendle, 27, spent nearly all of the 2017 campaign with the A’s Triple-A affiliate and batted .285/.327/.429 in 510 PAs. With an option remaining, he could head back to Triple-A with the Rays and serve as depth.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Increasingly Likely To Trade Jed Lowrie]]> 2017-12-11T18:40:15Z 2017-12-11T18:24:40Z
  • Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie is currently penciled into the organization’s everyday lineup, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that “it’s increasingly apparent that Lowrie could be on the move sooner rather than later.” The driving force here, it seems, isn’t so much salary — Lowrie’s reasonable $6MM tab still leaves the A’s room to work with — as it is opportunity. Oakland evidently sees a chance to get a strong return on Lowrie while working to improve in the outfield. Since Frankin Barreto could step into Lowrie’s shoes, the team may just be seeing a new and better way to allocate resources. The 33-year-old Lowrie had a strong bounceback season in 2017, turning in 645 plate appearances of .277/.360/.448 hitting.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: A's Willing To Trade Jed Lowrie]]> 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z
  • The Athletics expected to retain infielder Jed Lowrie as of October, but now they’d “certainly be willing” to trade him, Cafardo reports. Lowrie will enter his age-34 campaign in 2018, in which he’ll earn a very reasonable $6MM, after turning in one of the healthiest and best years of his career last season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A's Targeting Outfielder At Winter Meetings]]> 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z
  • Athletics GM David Forst spoke with reporters on a conference call yesterday and once again iterated that his team’s goal is to add a right-handed hitting corner outfielder to the mix (Twitter link via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Oakland will hope to come away from next week’s Winter Meetings with that player in tow, though there’s obviously no guarantee they’ll line up with a trade partner in Orlando. Meanwhile,’s Jon Morosi tweets that even though the A’s have no plans to trade Khris Davis, they’ll probably receive inquiries regarding his availability, given that Davis is only two years away from free agency. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a sizable $11.1MM salary for Davis in arbitration this year.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Designate Joey Wendle For Assignment]]> 2017-12-07T23:59:28Z 2017-12-07T23:51:22Z The Athletics have designated infielder Joey Wendle for assignment, according to an announcement from the team. Oakland jettisoned Wendle to make room on its 40-man roster for newly signed reliever Yusmeiro Petit, whose deal with the club is now official.

    Now 27, Wendle has been a member of the Oakland organization since December 2014, when it acquired him from the Indians for slugger Brandon Moss. Wendle has spent the vast majority of his A’s tenure with their Triple-A affiliate and slashed .285/.325/.441 across 1,654 plate appearances at that level. He made his big league debut in 2016 during a 104-PA showing and added another 14 plate trips last season. All told, Wendle has hit a less-than-stellar .266/.305/.339 as a member of the A’s, with whom he has lined up solely at second base.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Major Obstacle Arises To Athletics’ Ballpark Plans]]> 2017-12-06T18:10:14Z 2017-12-06T18:10:14Z It seemed the Athletics had finally started some momentum toward a new ballpark when it emerged in September that the club had settled on a site to pursue. But that plan has now run into a major roadblock, according to a report from Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The board of trustees of Peralta Community College District — the entity that owns the prospective site, which borders Laney College — has voted to halt ongoing discussions with the A’s. That brings to a stop the exploratory efforts embarked upon by the team less than a month after it had announced a group of firms that would begin stadium design efforts.

    For their part, the A’s issued a brief statement, via the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser (on Twitter). The organization says it is “shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” explaining that it had only hoped to “enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District.”

    It may well be that this obstacle proves insurmountable, though perhaps the door is not fully slammed shut. But if the Athletics do move on, they’ll presumably go back to a drawing board that had featured several other possibilities — including a potential new facility at the current Coliseum site.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Hire Al Pedrique As First Base Coach]]> 2017-12-05T06:38:41Z 2017-12-05T05:31:41Z
  • In other coaching news, the Mariners announced that Brian DeLunas has been hired as the team’s bullpen coach. Per the club, DeLunas has most recently worked for private entities CSE Baseball and Premier Pitching and Performance (P3) and previously served as a pitching coach at a variety of levels, including at the University of Missouri. Meanwhile, the Athletics have added Al Pedrique as the club’s new first base coach while shifting Mike Aldrete to assistant hitting coach and Marcus Jensen to bullpen coach. Pedrique, a former big leaguer, was most recently the manager for the Yankees’ top affiliate and has previously coached in the majors for the Diamondbacks and Astros.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Thursday]]> 2017-11-30T20:45:29Z 2017-11-30T20:45:16Z The question of whether Shohei Ohtani can successfully lead a big league rotation and serve as a legitimate member of its offense on a semi-regular basis is one of the most fascinating storylines in recent memory, and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports takes an excellent look at the viability of that scenario. Brown spoke to GM, scouts, coaches and players throughout the league, and though the prevailing opinion was that while it would be difficult and unlikely, there’s also a sentiment that those in the industry are nonetheless rooting for Ohtani to succeed at both.

    Rays righty Chris Archer tells Brown that a successful two-way player would “change our perspective” on the game. Archer and free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth both chatted with Brown about their daily schedules and recovery programs, which Brown uses as a means of illustrating the challenges of Ohtani successfully serving as a starter and a DH/outfielder. Brown also talks with former pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel about the summer he spent as a starter and a DH in A-ball. Ankiel suggests that the true question isn’t one of whether Ohtani can physically handle a two-way role but rather one of whether Ohtani can thrive in both areas. “Can he be great at both here?” Ankiel asks rhetorically. “That depends on how good he really is.”

    Some other notes on the game’s most intriguing free-agent-to-be, who should be formally posted by Saturday…

    • The Athletics can only offer $300K to Ohtani after exceeding last year’s allotted international pool, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports a detailed account of their pitch to Ohtani. Oakland is will to not only let Ohtani hit but also play the outfield on occasion, she notes, and their sales pitch also centers around an emerging young core of comparably aged players to Ohtani — led by Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. The A’s hope to be in a new ballpark by 2023, if not sooner and are hoping to sell Ohtani on helping them usher in that new facility as one of the faces of the team. They also highlighted manager Bob Melvin’s relationship with Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui as well as Oakland’s relative proximity to Japan, among many other aspects.
    • Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have “earmarked” the $1.315MM they now have in their international pool after today’s trade with the Braves for a pursuit of Ohtani.

    Earlier Updates

    • The Phillies haven’t been mentioned in connection with Ohtani, but’s Todd Zolecki writes that they do plan to take their shot at landing him, even if they’re considered long shots. The Phils have $900K to offer Ohtani in terms of a signing bonus, and new skipper Gabe Kapler spent a season playing in Nippon Professional Baseball, giving him some familiarity with Japanese baseball and culture. Zolecki also notes that former Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, a senior advisor in the front office, enjoyed an excellent six-year career in NPB and is likely a known name for Ohtani, even if Manuel wrapped up his playing career before Ohtani was born. Nonetheless, the Phils will also need to convince Ohtani that their rebuilding club is near contention, and Zolecki further notes that other markets like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have considerably larger Japanese populations and communities.
    • Pennsylvania’s other MLB club may also be a long shot, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington still spoke optimistically in his team’s ability to make a competitive pitch for Ohtani in a recent appearance with Chris Mueller and Joe Starkey on 93.7 The Fan“We are going to do everything in our power, and hopefully, have him honor us with the ability to get beyond the written presentation, get beyond the initial 30-club presentation and really dig into why it would be an honor for us to have him become a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates,” said Huntington. In terms of potential bonus offer, the Bucs are one of the better-positioned teams, with a bit more than $2.2MM to offer, but Ohtani is widely expected to make far more through endorsements than his initial signing bonus anyhow, so the bonus itself may not be an enormous separator.
    • David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago writes that the Cubs have sent scouts to Japan to watch Ohtani for weeks at a time in the past, and some rivals believe the Cubs to be a serious threat to land him. One exec remarks to Kaplan that president of baseball ops Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have success in setting up support systems for international stars thanks to their acquisition of Daisuke Matsuzaka with the Red Sox in the 2006-07 offseason. The Cubs are capped at a $300K signing bonus, though again, that doesn’t appear to be as significant a strike against them as it would be in the pursuit of a more traditional free agent.
    • Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals crafted a presentation in English, which international scouting assistant Taisuke Sato then translated to Japanese for Ohtani’s consumption. Janes notes that the Nationals, who are also capped at $300K, cannot compete financially in terms of signing bonus and don’t have previous experience in signing Japanese players under GM Mike Rizzo to demonstrate a proven plan for helping an NPB star transition to the Majors. That said, the team has very recently made a significant investment in its medical staff, boasts a new Spring Training facility and a fairly new ballpark in D.C., and can attempt to sell Ohtani on the allure of joining an immediate contender with an open rotation spot. Janes paints the Nats as long shots but notes that they, like all 30 other clubs, will at least perform their due diligence in attempting to entire Ohtani.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Sign Yusmeiro Petit]]> 2017-12-08T00:01:22Z 2017-11-30T01:36:41Z The Athletics are in agreement with free-agent right-hander Yusmeiro Petit on a two-year, $10MM contract with a third-year club option, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Petit is represented by Godoy Sports. He’ll earn $3.5MM in 2018, $5.5MM in 2019 and has a 2020 club option for another $5.5MM that comes with a $1MM buyout, I’m told. The deal is pending a physical.

    Yusmeiro Petit | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics depth chart and payroll outlook]

    The 33-year-old Petit is fresh off a career year in which he led big league relievers with 87 1/3 innings and also tossed four innings in a spot start. Overall, he pitched to a 2.76 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 32.9 percent ground-ball rate in his 91 1/3 frames with the Halos. Of Petit’s 59 relief appearances, 33 lasted more than an inning, and he was often asked to work two or even three innings at a time. By season’s end, he’d graduated from lower-leverage spots to high-leverage setup appearances and even a few closing opportunities, as he saved four games for the Halos.

    While he didn’t establish himself as a regular big league contributor until his age-28 season (2013< Petit has somewhat quietly been a solid ’pen option for the Giants, Nats and Angels dating back to 2012. In that time, he’s worked to a 3.59 ERA and a 3.40 FIP over the life of 399 big league innings, brushing up against history a few times along the way. He came within a single out of a perfect game for the Giants in September 2013 and went on to set a Major League record for most consecutive batters retired the following season in 2014.

    Despite the flashes of greatness, Petit has also struggled at times due to a susceptibility to home runs. The long ball was an issue for Petit early in his career with the Marlins and D-backs, and he saw some flare-ups in that regard in his final season with the Giants (1.3 HR/9) and especially in his lone season with the Nationals (1.74 HR/9). Whether he can continue to average better than a strikeout per inning remains to be seen as well; he averaged 10.2 K/9 in a very strong ’14 season with the Giants but sat around 7.0 K/9 from 2015-16 with the Giants and Nats. Petit doesn’t throw hard, sitting 89-90 mph with his fastball, though Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris wrote back in 2014 about the difficulty opposing hitters face in tracking Petit’s pitches due to deception in his delivery.

    Petit will add some length to a bullpen that figures to be anchored by Blake Treinen, who shined in Oakland after being acquired from the Nationals in the trade that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. Manager Bob Melvin’s bullpen figures to also feature right-handers Santiago Casilla, Ryan Dull, Emilio Pagan and Chris Hatcher (assuming Hatcher is tendered a contract). His experience working in longer stints could also give Melvin and the A’s some flexibility to utilize him as an occasional spot starter should the need arise, though it seems likely that he’ll be relied upon as a bullpen arm rather than a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation.

    The A’s — like every other club given the painfully slow pace of the 2017-18 offseason — still have work to do between now and Opening Day, of course. They’re reportedly on the hunt for a controllable right-handed-hitting corner outfielder now that the trade of Ryon Healy (to the Mariners in exchange for the aforementioned Pagan) has paved the way for Khris Davis to serve as their DH. They also need to bring in a center fielder and could look to add some left-handed bullpen options as well as an upgrade at catcher. However, with Petit and Pagan now on board, plus the midseason pickups of Treinen and Hatcher, Oakland doesn’t seem likely to consider additional right-handed relief a top priority.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Agree To Minors Pacts With Garcia, Martini, Martin]]> 2017-11-29T03:39:36Z 2017-11-29T03:30:50Z
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have agreed a trio of minor league deals. Outfielders Anthony Garcia and Nick Martini will be in camp with the A’s next spring, as will lefty reliever Jarret Martin. The 25-year-old Garcia and 27-year-old Martini are both longtime Cardinals farmhands. Garcia has struggled in 354 Triple-A plate appearances (.232/.299/.397) but posted a solid .284/.376/.465 slash in more than 800 Double-A PAs. Oakland is known to be looking for right-handed-hitting outfielders, and Garcia gives them a depth option that matches said description. Martini swings from the left side but has a better track record in the upper levels, having slashed .299/.387/.423 in 787 PAs in Triple-A. As for the 28-year-old Martin, he parlayed a strong two seasons on the indy circuit into a look with the Giants last year and turned in a 2.04 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against a more troublesome 6.8 K/9 in 39 2/3 frames with San Francisco’s Double-A affiliate.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Tuesday]]> 2017-11-28T22:13:31Z 2017-11-28T22:13:43Z Though Shohei Ohtani has not even yet been officially posted — that’s expected as soon as Friday — the supreme young talent is drawing plenty of attention from MLB organizations. Those clubs received a memorandum over the weekend asking them to provide information to Ohtani and his representatives on a variety of subjects, which is only the beginning of a highly unusual and utterly fascinating recruitment process.

    Here’s the latest:

    • Though Ohtani is limited to a signing bonus and a minor league contract in coming to the Major Leagues, he stands to earn substantially more through marketing endorsements, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Marketing agents have predicted to Nightengale that between endorsements back in Japan and in the United States, Ohtani could command north of $20MM annually. That’d make him MLB’s highest-paid player in terms of off-the-field revenue.
    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic spoke to agent Scott Boras (who was in the running to represent Ohtani before Ohtani signed CAA and Nez Balelo) as well as MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem about Ohtani’s earning capacity. Unsurprisingly, Boras offered sharp criticism of a system that won’t allow Ohtani to top a $3.535MM signing bonus at this point. “He is precocious, greatness cast adrift, forced into the MLB lifeboat,” said the always colorful Boras. “And his admission is handcuffs that prevent him from getting at least what his older, lesser valued peers received—in Tanaka’s case, more than $150 million.” Halem, as one would expect, wholly disagreed with Boras’ notions, pointing out that it was Ohtani who passed on the chance to sign with MLB clubs as an amateur out of high school, which could have jump-started his earning potential. And, it was Ohtani who asked to be posted as an amateur just two years before he could have been posted as a professional. The free column has quite a few quotes from both Boras and Halem on the matter and is well worth a full look.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics, Jake Smolinski Avoid Arbitration]]> 2017-11-27T20:09:54Z 2017-11-27T19:40:14Z The A’s have avoided arbitration with outfielder Jake Smolinski, reports MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (on Twitter). Smolinski will be paid a $775K salary for the 2018 season, which comes in a bit north of the $700K at which he was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.  Smolinski is a client of Sosnick, Cobbe, and Karon.

    The 28-year-old Smolinski has spent parts of the past three seasons in Oakland, hitting a combined .236/.297/.371 with a dozen homers in 466 trips to the plate. While he’s struggled immensely against right-handed pitchers over parts of four big league seasons, he’s tattooed lefties at a .299/.371/.507 clip and belted 11 of his 16 career homers against southpaws. Smolinski gives Oakland a right-handed-hitting platoon partner for Matt Joyce in an outfield corner spot as well as an option in center field from time to time, though his usage in 2018 will be somewhat dependent on the remainder of the moves that Oakland makes to address its outfield needs between now and Opening Day.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Sam Moll From Athletics]]> 2017-11-27T19:15:17Z 2017-11-27T19:15:17Z The Pirates have claimed left-hander Sam Moll off waivers from the Athletics, according to press releases from both teams. Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster is now at 39 players.

    Moll, 25, is a former third-round pick of the Rockies that was traded to Oakland this past August for cash considerations. The A’s designated him for assignment last week when clearing space on their 40-man roster to protect several players from the Rule 5 Draft.

    The 2017 season saw Moll make his big league debut in Oakland, though the results weren’t especially pretty. In 6 2/3 frames, the Memphis product was tagged for eight runs on 13 hits (including two homers) and three walks with seven strikeouts.

    In 54 1/3 innings between the Triple-A affiliates for the Rockies and the A’s, Moll pitched to a more respectable 3.64 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9. He also registered a promising 50.3 percent ground-ball rate in his 47 1/3 innings with Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate, though that fell to 33.3 percent in admittedly tiny seven-inning sample with Oakland’s affiliate. Overall, Moll has a history of missing bats and inducing grounders at decent clips in the minors. He joins Nik Turley as the second southpaw claimed off waivers by the Bucs since the offseason began.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Jaycob Brugman]]> 2017-11-22T19:28:28Z 2017-11-22T19:11:25Z The Orioles have acquired outfielder Jaycob Brugman from the Athletics, per a club announcement. A player to be named or cash will go to Oakland in return.

    Brugman, 25, was just designated for assignment by the A’s. He reached the majors for the first time last year, posting a .266/.346/.343 slash over 162 plate appearances. A generally solid on-base threat in the minors, the left-handed hitter has shown a bit of pop at times but has not always sustained it in the upper minors. Metrics did not view his work in center field favorably in 2017, though that was a short sample and scouting reports have generally suggested he’s a solid overall defender.

    [RELATED: Orioles Depth Chart]

    It’s certainly possible that the Orioles could allow Brugman to compete for a reserve/platoon outfield role in camp. He’ll play at or near the league minimum and might help the team save funds to dedicate to the rotation, which is clearly a more pressing area of need. The O’s have a variety of right-handed bats to work with already. Adam Jones and Trey Mancini are certainties to see regular time. Mark Trumbo will likely mostly function as a DH but could factor in the mix, while top prospect Austin Hays will receive consideration despite a tepid late-season debut. Reserve options on hand include switch-hitting Anthony Santander and right-handed-hitting Joey Rickard.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Designate Sam Moll, Jaycob Brugman]]> 2017-11-21T03:13:04Z 2017-11-21T01:36:47Z The Athletics have designated lefty Sam Moll and outfielder Jaycob Brugman for assignment, as’s Jane Lee tweets. Oakland also added right-handers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino to its 40-man roster, she adds.

    Moll got a look in the majors after a mid-season claim from the Rockies organization. While he recorded seven strikeouts in his six innings, the 25-year-old was also touched for eight earned runs on 13 hits. In his 54 1/3 Triple-A innings on the year, Moll worked to a 3.64 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

    Brugman is also 25 and is also fresh off of his first taste of the big leagues. He got on base at a healthy .346 clip over 162 plate appearances, but managed only a .343 slugging percentage. In 172 trips to the plate at Triple-A, he similarly slashed .275/.355/.340.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Ramon Laureano, Outright Bobby Wahl]]> 2017-11-20T23:31:55Z 2017-11-20T23:19:03Z The Athletics have acquired outfielder Ramon Laureano from the Astros, per’s Jane Lee (via Twitter). Houston will receive right-hander Brandon Bailey in return.

    Oakland additionally outrighted right-hander Bobby Wahl off of its 40-man roster. That move will create space for Laureano to be added to the A’s roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft — the same consideration that no doubt created the circumstances of this swap.

    Laureano, 23, ranked 11th on’s most recent prospect list for the ’Stros. But he failed to follow up on a breakout 2016 season. Over 513 plate appearances at Double-A in 2017, he slashed just .227/.298/.369 with 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases.

    The 23-year-old Bailey is still a ways off from needing his own 40-man spot. He split the 2017 season between the Class A and High-A levels, pitching to a cumulative 3.26 ERA over 91 frames. Though he allowed a few more runners to cross the plate after his promotion, Bailey did impress with 12.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in his 34 innings at the higher tier.

    Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Wahl made it to the majors for the first time in 2017, allowing four earned runs in 7 2/3 frames. Much of his prior time has been spent at the Double-A level, where he owns a 3.08 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 73 total frames.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Athletics' 40-Man Roster Candidates]]> 2017-11-20T00:29:53Z 2017-11-20T00:29:53Z
  • The Athletics have a full 40-man roster, which’s Jane Lee notes could lead to some shuffling before Monday evening’s deadline to set rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.  Lee lists five prospects (outfielder B.J. Boyd and right-handers Heath Fillmyer, Casey Meisner, Lou Trivino, and Jake Sanchez) as potential candidates to be added to Oakland’s 40-man, lest they be taken by another team in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place in December.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Name Matt Williams Third Base Coach]]> 2017-11-18T01:11:19Z 2017-11-18T01:11:19Z The Athletics have announced that Matt Williams will take over as the team’s new third base coach. He will round out the staff of manager Bob Melvin.

    Oakland had an opening arise when the Nationals hired away Chip Hale, who’s now the bench coach in the nation’s capital. Williams, of course, previously served as the Nats’ manager. Now, he’s heading back to the Bay Area, where he once starred with the Giants.

    The 51-year-old Williams has plenty of experience waving runners to the plate. He has served as the Diamondbacks’ third base coach for two different stints, wrapped around his up-and-down tenure in D.C.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A's Notes: Maxwell, Garcia, Healy, Pagan]]> 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z OaDespite recent allegations of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, Bruce Maxwell is still viewed by the Athletics as their catcher next season, GM David Forst told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle at this week’s GM Meetings. “We’ll let the criminal proceedings play out,” said Forst, “But from a baseball standpoint, I expect Bruce to be our catcher next year.” Maxwell has already plead not guilty to the charges brought forth against him after he allegedly waved a gun in the face of a Postmates delivery employee last month. The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported earlier this week that there’s no trial date yet, but a hearing wouldn’t occur until early 2018.

    Even without Maxwell’s off-the-field issues, though, catcher would seem to be a potential area for improvement for the Athletics. Maxwell will turn 27 in a month, has batted just .251/.331/.354 in 354 MLB plate appearances over the past two seasons and has thrown out a respectable but unspectacular 25 percent of opposing base thieves in his big league career. Baseball Prospectus rated him as an excellent pitch framer coming up through the minors, though he’s yet to post quality marks with the A’s.

    • Forst told reporters following last night’s Healy trade that the Mariners first contacted the Athletics about Healy “right after” the regular season ended (link via’s Jane Lee). The two sides talked on and off over the past month, and Forst notes that right-hander Emilio Pagan, one of two players Oakland received in the deal, is someone they’ve tried to acquire from the Mariners in the past. “Once it was clear [Pagan] could be part of this deal, then we spent the last week or so trying to work it out,” said Forst. Lee notes that the A’s will continue to seek bullpen help and could place an emphasis on finding a left-handed reliever.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Ryon Healy]]> 2017-11-16T02:18:58Z 2017-11-16T01:42:57Z The Mariners announced that they’ve acquired first baseman Ryon Healy from the division-rival Athletics in exchange for right-hander Emilio Pagan and minor league infielder Alexander Campos.

    Ryon Healy | Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

    Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto wasted little time in making his first significant move of the offseason, as Healy should now vault to the top of the Mariners’ depth chart at first base. Healy’s name has been oft-suggested as a trade candidate with the emergence of corner infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson in Oakland. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported on multiple occasions that the A’s would prefer to shift slugging left fielder Khris Davis to DH, and the move of Healy to Seattle allows Oakland to do just that. The A’s are reportedly on the hunt for a controllable, right-handed-hitting outfielder this offseason, and there’s now a more clear vacancy for them in left field.

    That, of course, is not to downplay the value of Healy, who comes to the Mariners with another five years of team control. The 25-year-old has belted 38 home runs through his first 888 plate appearances (221 games) with the A’s from the 2016-17 seasons. Healy hasn’t shown much plate discipline to go along with that pop (3.9 percent walk rate), but his overall .282/.313/.475 batting line is solid — especially considering the fact that he’s played half of his games in the spacious Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics Depth Chart and Seattle Mariners Depth Chart]

    While Healy originally came to the Majors as a third baseman, he quickly moved across the diamond to first base last season in Oakland after posting poor defensive ratings at the hot corner. He’s only played 307 innings of first base in the Majors, though Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating both peg him at about a run better than average there. Obviously, time will tell whether he’s capable of playing a plus first base over the course of a full season, but the Mariners typically place a premium on defense, so it seems that they’re confident in Healy’s ability to do so for the time being. (Designated hitter Nelson Cruz will be a free agent after this season, so Healy could theoretically slide into that spot next year if his glovework proves to be sub-par.)

    “Ryon brings a power bat to our line-up at first base, while providing the flexibility to play third base,” said Dipoto in a statement announcing the move. “He adds to a growing core of productive young players who impact our present and future.”

    The move has further ramifications for the Mariners, who have been linked to both Carlos Santana and Yonder Alonso early in the offseason but now seem largely set at first base. The move also further blocks Dan Vogelbach’s path to regular big league playing time, though the 25-year-old still has a minor league option remaining and can also factor in as a bat off the bench and/or a part-time first baseman and DH himself.

    Looking to the Atheltics’ side of the equation, they’ll not only free up a spot for the addition of a new left fielder, they’ll add an intriguing big league setup option to their bullpen in the form of Pagan. Set to turn 27 next May, Pagan logged a 3.22 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 in 50 1/3 innings with the Mariners in 2016 — his rookie season.

    Those K/BB numbers are fairly jaw-dropping, though Pagan’s value last season was curbed by his susceptibility to home runs. While only 9.5 percent of his fly-balls left the yard for homers (well below the league average), Pagan is such an extreme fly-ball pitcher (22.3 percent ground-ball rate, 56.9 percent fly-ball rate) that he still yielded an average of 1.25 homers per nine innings pitched. Pagan has been a pronounced fly-ball pitcher throughout his minor league tenure, though never quite to that extreme, so it’s possible that he could cut back on his home run tendencies a bit moving forward.

    Because Pagan didn’t even make his big league debut until midway through the 2017 season, he fell shy of a full year of service time. That gives Oakland six years of control over him if he can indeed settle in as a regular in their bullpen. He also has two minor league options remaining, so the A’s can freely shuttle him back to Triple-A if he needs additional development time.

    As for Campos, the 17-year-old shortstop was rated as the No. 15 prospect in Seattle’s farm system per’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis. Campos signed for a $575K bonus with the Mariners in July 2016 and went on to bat .290/.413/.367 through 254 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League this past season. Callis and Mayo praise his above-average speed and “advanced defensive skill set” in noting that while he’s a long ways from the Majors, he profiles as at least a reserve player with the possibility to grow into more as he continues to add strength and develop his offensive game.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Notes: Melvin, Bullpen, Outfield, Maxwell]]> 2017-11-14T23:09:44Z 2017-11-14T23:09:44Z
  • The Yankees asked the Athletics for permission to interview manager Bob Melvin for their own managerial opening but were rebuffed, reports Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that GM David Forst on Monday called Melvin “absolutely the right guy” to be guiding the Athletics’ rising core of young position players. Forst suggested to reporters that the A’s will look to bolster the bullpen and to add a right-handed-hitting corner outfield bat this offseason, noting that a rotation upgrade is a possibility but “not a priority,” Shea continues.
  • Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell plead not guilty to assault and disorderly conduct charges on Tuesday, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Maxwell was arrested on Oct. 28 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after allegedly waving a gun at a Postmates employee that was making a delivery to his house, per Slusser. There’s no trial date set for now, and a hearing wouldn’t come until sometime in early 2018. MLB will conduct an investigation into the matter, but no announcement of any discipline would come until after a hearing (or a theoretical settlement).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Simon Castro, Michael Brady, Josh Smith Elect Free Agency]]> 2017-11-13T05:36:16Z 2017-11-13T04:40:08Z TODAY: Castro, Brady, and Smith all indeed elected to become free agents, as per Matt Eddy of Baseball America.

    NOVEMBER 6: The A’s announced on Monday that right-handers Simon Castro, Michael Brady and Josh Smith have all been assigned outright to Triple-A Nashville after clearing waivers. The moves give Oakland enough space to reinstate outfielder Dustin Fowler and righties Andrew Triggs, Paul Blackburn and Bobby Wahl from the 60-day disabled list.

    Castro, 29, totaled 37 innings out of the Oakland bullpen, working to a 4.38 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9. Castro averaged nearly 94 mph on his heater, but as an extreme fly-ball pitcher that saw 14 percent of flies against him turn into homers, he also averaged 1.7 long balls per nine innings pitched. The journeyman righty posted a career-best 14.9 K/9 in 38 Triple-A innings this season but averaged five walks per nine, as well. He’s set to turn 30 next April.

    Brady, 30, made his big league debut in ’17 but struggled to a 5.68 ERA in 31 2/3 innings. He averaged just over six punchouts per nine frames but did so with strong control (1.7 BB/9). Like Castro, he’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher that struggled to keep the ball in the yard despite the spacious confines of the O.Co Coliseum. But, also like Castro, he enjoyed an impressive year in Triple-A, tossing 53 1/3 innings with a 3.21 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9.

    The 30-year-old Smith turned in 35 MLB innings with an ERA just south of 5.00 but posted a 3.70 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings of work at the Triple-A level. He’s yet to find success in the Majors in parts of three seasons with the Reds and A’s but has fared better in Triple-A and should latch on as a depth option in another organization.

    All three players outrighted by the A’s will have the option of electing minor league free agency in lieu of the outright assignment and figure to do just that.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ichiro's Agent Contacted A's, But Match Unlikely]]> 2017-11-10T01:49:27Z 2017-11-09T22:22:29Z
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Ichiro Suzuki’s agent, John Boggs, has already reached out to the Athletics to try to pitch his client’s services. Slusser the chat between the two sides as “brief,” noting that it was based on Ichiro’s relationship with A’s manager Bob Melvin, who managed Ichiro more than a decade ago. There does not appear to be a fit, she notes, though Boggs tells Slusser that Ichiro “has the ultimate desire to play” in 2018. Heyman noted in the aforementioned notes column that the Marlins did not make an offer to the 44-year-old Ichiro before declining his $2MM option.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A’s Interested In Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna]]> 2017-11-09T02:34:44Z 2017-11-09T02:34:44Z The Athletics are beginning to amass an impressive young core, led by corner infielders Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that they’re seeking a controllable outfielder this winter as a means of adding to that core. Among the team’s targets, per Slusser, are Marlins stars Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

    Oakland picked up highly touted Dustin Fowler in the trade that sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees, and the team also has top shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto on the cusp of MLB readiness. Fowler will compete for the center field job next spring, and Barreto projects to be with the club by midseason. That young group is complemented by solid veterans like Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis.

    Per Slusser, Oakland’s preference is to add a right-handed bat, though their interest in Yelich would suggest they’re not necessarily set on players of a certain handedness. Yelich’s contract, of course, plays a significant role in that interest as well. He’s owed $44.5MM through the 2021 season and also has a $15MM club option for the 2022 season. Ozuna, meanwhile, would certainly fit the criteria of a big right-handed corner outfield bat. However, he’s controllable only for another two years and is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $10.9MM next season.

    Yelich’s 2017 season wasn’t quite as impressive as his 2016 campaign, but he’s still posted an excellent .290/.373/.460 batting line over his past 1180 MLB plate appearances. That, paired with high-quality left-field defense and a capability to handle center field, has made him worth roughly nine wins above replacement since Opening Day 2016.

    Ozuna, meanwhile, belted a career-best 37 homers in 2017 and slashed .312/.376/.548 along the way. Over his past two seasons, he’s slashed .290/.350/.503 with 60 homers. Questions about his glove in center field caused the Marlins to flip him with Yelich this season, and Ozuna responded with well-above-average defense in left field (+11 DRS, +3.4 UZR).

    [Related: Oakland Athletics payroll outlook and depth chart]

    Ozuna and Yelich are just two of many possibilities for the A’s to pursue this winter. The Cardinals have a noted glut of outfielders and are widely expected to shop Randal Grichuk and/or Stephen Piscotty. One would imagine that the White Sox would be open to dealing Avisail Garcia, though like Ozuna, he’s controlled only for another two seasons. Across town in Chicago, the Cubs have a glut of young position players, with switch-hitting Ian Happ an oft-rumored trade possibility. Speculating further, the Reds could be open to offers on Adam Duvall. Oakland doesn’t have any intention to trade from its big league roster, Slusser notes, with the possible exception of first baseman/DH Ryon Healy. (Trading Healy, she points out, would allow the A’s to move Khris Davis to DH.)

    The A’s will have no shortage of options as they explore their corner needs this summer, and though payroll is always a concern in Oakland, their clean payroll slate makes it plausible for them to take on some dollars in 2018 and beyond. Oakland has just $18MM in guaranteed money on the 2018 books — $6MM to each of Lowrie, Santiago Casilla and Matt Joyce — plus another roughly $34MM in projected arbitration salary. Beyond the 2018 season, Oakland doesn’t have a single guaranteed dollar on the ledger, putting the A’s in position to take on a player already on a multi-year deal or one who is projected to begin earning substantial salaries via arbitration.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nationals To Name Chip Hale Bench Coach]]> 2017-11-08T23:54:18Z 2017-11-08T23:54:18Z The Nationals will name current Athletics third base coach and former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale their new bench coach, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’ll serve as the right-hand man to rookie skipper Dave Martinez, who was recently signed to a three-year deal as the new manager in Washington, D.C.

    Hale, 52, spent two seasons as the Diamondbacks’ manager back in 2015-16 before being replaced with Torey Lovullo by Arizona’s new front-office regime. In addition to his time skippering the D-backs, he’s had two stints on Oakland’s coaching staff and also served on the Mets’ Major League staff as well. Since concluding a seven-year playing career that spanned 1989-97 with the Twins and Dodgers, Hale has managed in the minors and spent eight years as an MLB-level coach (in addition to his two years as a manager). Suffice it to say, he’ll bring plenty of experience to a new-look Nationals coaching staff in 2018.

    It’s been a busy offseason for Hale, who was also reportedly among the candidates to become the new manager of the Phillies and the Mets before those posts went to Gabe Kapler and Mickey Callaway, respectively. The move for Hale now leaves the A’s with a new vacancy on their staff that they’ll need to fill in the coming weeks.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Exercise Jed Lowrie’s Option, Add Mark Kotsay To Coaching Staff]]> 2017-11-02T19:02:02Z 2017-11-02T18:36:29Z The A’s announced this afternoon that they’ve exercised their $6MM club option over second baseman Jed Lowrie and also added former Athletics outfielder Mark Kotsay to their staff as a quality control coach. Kotsay was also a part of Oakland’s coaching staff in 2016 when he served as a bench coach.

    The option decision on Lowrie was an easy call after the 33-year-old hit .277/.360/.448 with 14 home runs and a career-high 49 doubles for the A’s this past season. While Lowrie has long stood out as a logical on-paper trade candidate, A’s execs Billy Beane and David Forst have stated that they envision Lowrie as the team’s Opening Day second baseman next year. Lowrie, then, would likely be leaned upon to stabilize the position until top prospect Franklin Barreto forced his way into a regular role on the Major League roster. As it stands, Barreto is almost certain to open the 2018 season in Triple-A, despite the fact that he did make his MLB debut earlier this season.

    Kotsay took a leave of absence from the A’s back in June but will return to the staff in a new role, though the specifics of his responsibilities are rather nebulous. Per Oakland’s press release, Kotsay will assist manager Bob Melvin and the coaching staff “in all areas and will also consult with the front office in other facets of the organization. “

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[West Notes: Healy, Maxwell, Rangers]]> 2017-10-31T13:40:44Z 2017-10-31T13:40:44Z A rousing World Series hasn’t come without its controversies. On the field, questions have arisen about the baseballs themselves, as’s Tom Verducci discusses. The balls being used for the series are slicker than regular season ball, some players and coaches say, with some even feeling there have been differences through the postseason. This follows on a long-running debate over “juiced” balls in the regular season. It’ll be interesting to see whether and how the league addresses the subject over the winter.

    Here are some notes from out west:

    • The Athletics may be putting out trade feelers on young power hitter Ryon Healy, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. As she notes, he mostly fits in a DH capacity on the current roster, but the team may prefer to bump Khris Davis into that slot. The 25-year-old Healy isn’t considered much of a defender, and only posted a .302 OBP last year, but has already blasted 38 home runs in 888 MLB plate appearances. Slusser suggests that the A’s might attempt to draw back some relief pitching in a hypothetical trade.
    • Slusser also has the latest on Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell. He was arrested for “allegedly waving a gun at a food delivery person” in a troubling incident that Slusser details. It’s not yet clear how the matter will impact Maxwell’s status with the team, but it seems he will be referred to MLB’s Joint Treatment Program, as Slusser notes. Maxwell, 26, is expected to play a significant role for the A’s next year as part of the club’s youth movement, but it seems he’ll have to address some other matters before the spring.
    • Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News takes a good look at the Rangers’ possibilities in left field, a position in quite some flux for the team. It may be that it ends up featuring a “cast of characters,” as Grant puts it. Slugger Joey Gallo and speedster Delino DeShields could see time in left if they aren’t used as primary options elsewhere. And top prospect Willie Calhoun, the main piece acquired in the Yu Darvish deal, could run with the position but may first need to iron out his glovework at Triple-A. What’s most interesting here, perhaps, is that the range of options seemingly leaves the club with some flexibility as it enters the offseason.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Bruce Maxwell Arrested On Gun Charge]]> 2017-10-29T13:22:27Z 2017-10-29T13:22:27Z Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell was arrested at his home Saturday night in Scottsdale, Ariz., on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct, TMZ first reported.  A food delivery person alleged that Maxwell pointed a gun at her.

    In a statement confirming Maxwell’s arrest, the Scottsdale Police Department announced that he was being held in custody and awaiting an appearance before a judge (Twitter link via Kurt Chirbas of NBC News).

    The 26-year-old Maxwell made headlines toward the end of the regular season when he became the first major leaguer to kneel for the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.

    Maxwell, a 2012 second-round pick who debuted in 2016, batted .237/.329/.333 in 253 plate appearances this year. He impressed A’s brass in the process and looks like the favorite to start at catcher for the club in 2018, though he could now face discipline from Major League Baseball.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kapler, Wathan Among Finalists For Phillies Manager]]> 2017-10-27T12:05:34Z 2017-10-27T12:05:36Z The Phillies have an opening in the dugout after surprisingly removing Pete Mackanin from that role and transitioning him to a front office role. Philadelphia had extended Mackanin just four months earlier, making the decision all the more unexpected. We’ll track the majority of the managerial chatter pertaining to the Phils here over the course of the search and update accordingly as the hunt progresses…


    • If the Phillies opt for a manager with Major League experience,’s Buster Olney tweets that the “industry expectation” is that John Farrell will get the job.
    •’s Todd Zolecki reports that Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler is also a finalist for the position, along with Wathan. Both impressed the Phils with their first interviews, and it sounds as if the Philadelphia brass will conduct one more round of interviews with this pair (and any other yet-unknown finalists) before making a final decision.
    • The Phillies are “zeroing in” on Triple-A skipper Dusty Wathan for the job, per Nightengale (via Twitter). He’ll join Kapler, at the least, in a second wave of interviews. Wathan only briefly cracked the majors as a player, but has once again climbed the minor-league ladder since moving to the coaching ranks with the Phillies back in 2008.

    Will Interview/Have Interviewed (Still Under Consideration)

    • Recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell interviewed for the position on Oct. 25, reports Zolecki. It’s not yet clear whether Farrell’s sitdown with the Phils will result in another interview.
    • Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler is also slated for an interview, as Zolecki reports. Kapler took his position with Los Angeles after missing on the team’s managerial opening, but has continued to be cited as a possible candidate elsewhere ever since.
    • The Phillies already have one strong internal candidate in Jorge Velandia, reports Jim Salisbury of Currently a special assistant to GM Matt Klentak, Velandia interviewed for the opening on Wednesday and is a “strong candidate,” according to Salisbury, though other interviews are sure to be conducted with external candidates. Nonetheless, Salisbury writes that the 42-year-old Velandia is well versed in player development and has embraced the analytical side of the game. His work with Klentak and the rest of the front office should bode well for communication. He’s spent time on the Phillies’ big league coaching staff in the past and has also spent six seasons as a manager in the Venezuelan Winter League.
    • Current Phillies third base coach Juan Samuel has also interviewed for the opening, as Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News recently reported. Samuel, 56, has been on the Phillies’ coaching staff since 2011 after coming over from the Orioles, where he worked with Andy MacPhail, who was then the Orioles’ president and now holds that same role with the Phillies. Samuel spoke to Brookover about his own openness to incorporating more data-driven decisions into on-field decisions. “If you have something available to you that gives you an advantage over other clubs, you should definitely use it,” he said.
    • Both Salisbury and Brookover list Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan as another internal candidate that is expected to interview. It’s not known yet whether the 44-year-old has interviewed, but he’s spent the past 10 seasons managing at various levels throughout the Phillies’ system, so he obviously has plenty of familiarity with the Phillies’ homegrown players and a number of the front office execs that have been with the club for an extended period of time.

    Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown)

    • The Phillies have spoken with Mariners third base coach Manny Acta, Jon Heyman of FanRag writes (and clarifies on Twitter). Acta, who managed the Nationals from 2007-09 and the Indians from 2010-12, was in the running for the Mets’ job before it went to Mickey Callaway.
    • In addition to a few of the other names already covered here, Heyman hears that the Phils have some level of interested in Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina and possibly former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. Boston is in the midst of its own managerial hiring process, with the club leaving coaches like DiSarcina free to explore their options with other organizations.
    • The Phillies are interested in speaking to Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, per Heyman. There’s been no definitive word of an interview, but the former Marlins manager has been building his dugout resume since calling it quits as a player back in 2010. At 46, he’d give the Phillies a considerably younger voice than they’ve had under recent skippers like Mackanin, Ryne Sandberg and Charlie Manuel.

    Not in the Mix/No Longer in Consideration

    • Ryan Lawrence of reported recently that the Phillies won’t consider bench coach Larry Bowa or former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for the post. Klentak has stated a desire for a “new voice” and a “new style” in the dugout, Lawrence notes, which wouldn’t be accomplished with the 71-year-old Bowa. As for Amaro, while he’d been previously connected to the role and is reportedly on the Tigers’ radar, Lawrence definitively characterized the chances of Amaro being on the team’s radar as nonexistent.
    • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Phil Nevin is no longer in the running after interviewing recently. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Athletics third base coach Chip Hale, who also interviewed for the Philadelphia vacancy, has been eliminated from the running as well.
    • Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway interviewed for the post but has since been hired as the new manager of the Mets.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Could Explore Extensions With Olson, Chapman]]> 2017-10-27T05:53:57Z 2017-10-27T05:18:43Z
  • The Athletics may be looking into some intriguing extension possibilities, Heyman further reports. Young standouts Matt Olson and Matt Chapman appear to be in the team’s sights. While neither is really even approaching arbitration, let alone free agency, perhaps Oakland will look to find value by making an early-career guarantee or two over the winter to come. Otherwise, says Heyman, the A’s are focused on adding some pieces to the bullpen and perhaps getting a righty outfield bat over the offseason.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Twins Hire Garvin Alston As Pitching Coach]]> 2017-10-26T18:50:44Z 2017-10-26T18:50:44Z The Twins announced on Thursday that they’ve selected Athletics bullpen coach Garvin Alston as their new pitching coach, replacing the previously dismissed Neil Allen.

    Alston, 45, was the Diamondbacks’ bullpen coach in 2016 and opened the 2017 season as the Padres’ coordinator of pitching rehab before joining the Athletics as their bullpen coach for the bulk of the 2017 season. He’s served as a minor league pitching coach and minor league pitching rehab coordinator with the A’s for parts of 10 years as well. Alston made a handful of appearances with the 1996 Rockies during his playing days and spent parts of nine seasons playing professionally after being taken in the 10th round of the 1992 draft.

    With the Twins, he’ll be tasked with molding a young staff that is fronted by veteran Ervin Santana but otherwise figures to consist largely of still-developing arms. Young Jose Berrios is among the Twins’ most important core pieces, and top prospects Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero could both figure to factor into the Twins’ 2018 plans (though both will almost certainly open the year in Triple-A). Alston’s background in pitching rehab is also of note for a club with Phil Hughes (thoracic outlet surgery), Trevor May (Tommy John surgery) and touted minor league relievers Nick Burdi (Tommy John surgery) and J.T. Chargois (stress reaction in right elbow) all missing the majority of the season due to injury.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Chris Smith Elects Free Agency]]> 2017-10-25T20:11:26Z 2017-10-25T19:58:03Z
  • Similarly, Athletics righty Chris Smith took free agency after being outrighted off of the 40-man roster. The 36-year-old handled 55 2/3 MLB innings in Oakland over nine starts and five relief appearances, but surrendered 2.6 homers and 6.79 earned runs per nine innings. Smith had never before topped 46 innings in a single season over his unusual career.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Elected Free Agency: Siegrist, Edgin, Hutchison, Locke, Bolsinger, Van Slyke, Maness]]> 2017-10-23T20:42:38Z 2017-10-23T20:28:21Z The indispensable Matt Eddy of Baseball America provides an overview of a vast number of players electing free agency following the 2017 season in his latest Minor Transactions roundup. Eddy largely focuses on players with big league service time (significant service time, in some cases) that were outrighted off the roster that are now hitting the open market for the first time. (Players with three-plus years of service that are not on the 40-man roster at season’s end can elect free agency, as can any player that has been outrighted on multiple occasions in his career.)

    While the vast majority of these players seem likely to sign minor league pacts this winter — they did, after all, go unclaimed by 29 other teams on waivers — a number of them are still intriguing with recent success in their past and/or multiple years of arbitration eligibility remaining. Eddy’s rundown also contains a number of re-signed minor leaguers and released minor leaguers without big league experience as well as Arizona Fall League assignments on a per-team basis, so it’s well worth a full look.

    We’ve updated our list of 2017-18 MLB free agents accordingly, and here are some of the new names now checking in on the list…

    Depth options in the rotation

    Josh Collmenter, Asher Wojciechowski, Drew Hutchison, Jeff Locke, Kyle Kendrick, Mike Bolsinger, Christian Bergman, David Holmberg

    Collmenter is just two seasons removed from being the D-backs Opening Day starter but hasn’t had much success of late. Hutchison had solid Triple-A numbers and once looked like a long-term rotation piece in Toronto before Tommy John surgery. He can be controlled for another three seasons in arbitration. Locke was injured for most of an ugly first (and likely only) season in Miami, and Kendrick made just two starts for the Red Sox.

    Wojciechowski (6.50 ERA in 62 1/3 innings with the Reds), Bolsinger (6.31 ERA in 41 1/3 innings with the Jays), Bergman (5.00 ERA in 54 innings with the Mariners) and Holmberg (4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings with the White Sox) all soaked up innings for injury-plagued pitching staffs. Bolsinger has had the most MLB experience of the bunch.

    Corner Bats

    Scott Van Slyke, Tyler Moore, Cody Asche, Conor Gillaspie, Jaff Decker

    Van Slyke has long been a solid bat against left-handed pitching but appeared in just 29 games with the Dodgers and didn’t hit well with their Triple-A affiliate or with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate. (He was included in the Tony Cingrani trade to balance out the financial side of the deal.) Moore, also a right-handed bat, showed power but struggled to get on base.

    Once one of the Phillies’ top prospects, Asche hit well in Triple-A Charlotte but flopped in a brief stint with the ChiSox. Gillaspie was unable to replicate his 2016 rebound with the Giants, while Decker showed some on-base skills in the Majors and minors but didn’t hit much overall. (He can play center but hasn’t graded well there in the Majors.)

    Utility Infielders

    Ruben Tejada, Phil Gosselin, Dusty Coleman, Chase d’Arnaud

    Each of the four can play all over the diamond, but none provided offensive value in 2017. Tejada has the most big league experience but hasn’t received much playing time since 2015 (and hasn’t performed well when he has gotten opportunities). Gosselin has a solid defensive reputation but a light bat through 551 MLB PAs. Coleman hit four homers in 71 PAs in his MLB debut this year but logged a .268 OBP. d’Arnaud saw his fair share of 2016 action with the Braves but has never produced much at the plate.

    Bullpen options

    Kevin Siegrist (L), Josh Edgin (L), Seth Maness, Kevin Quackenbush

    Siegrist and Edgin are intriguing names for clubs in need of left-handed bullpen help. Both have recent success on their track records, though Edgin wasn’t as sharp in 2017 as he was prior to 2015 Tommy John surgery. Siegrist’s control eroded in 2017 as he missed time due to a back/spinal injury and tendinitis in his left forearm, but he was one of the Cardinals’ top setup options in both 2015 and 2016. Both lefties are controllable through 2019.

    Maness drew headlines for returning from a torn UCL in roughly seven months thanks to an experimental new “primary repair” procedure, but while he stayed healthy in 2017, the results weren’t great in the Majors and especially not in Triple-A (6.13 ERA in 47 innings). Quackenbush was excellent as a rookie in 2014 and solid in 2015-16 before imploding in 2017 (7.86 ERA in 26 1/3 innings). He was better but not great in Triple-A (3.90 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9). Maness could be controlled through 2019, while Quackenbush would have three more years of control.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Interview Chip Hale; Latest On A's Coaching Staff]]> 2017-10-20T13:30:20Z 2017-10-20T05:36:01Z
  • As the Phillies weigh a new managerial hire, Heyman says the team is not giving out much information. But he notes that Athletics bench coach Chip Hale has been interviewed. Red Sox coach Gary DiSarcina is receiving some consideration, Heyman adds.
  • The Athletics announced that they’ve promoted Triple-A manager Ryan Christenson to the Major League staff and named him the new bench coach to manager Bob Melvin. The aforementioned Hale, who moved from third base coach to bench coach partway through the 2017 season, will return to his post as the team’s third base coach, barring an offer to manage another big league club. Christenson’s teams have gone 391-307 in his five-year tenure as a manager in Oakland’s minor league ranks.
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